What should I feed my kitten?
The first year of your kitten‘s life is when they do most of their growing. Their digestive and immune systems are maturing during this time and a good quality diet is essential if you want them to get the most out of this developmental stage. Cats are carnivores, with dietary requirements that are very different to human beings. What is good for us might not be good for them and variety in their diet may even lead to gastrointestinal upsets.
This is why ROYAL CANIN® makes a number of junior diets for kittens that have been specially formulated to make sure your new pet gets everything they need to help them grow into healthy young adults. Each of these includes precise instructions on how much to feed your new pet each day.
Birth to four months
After the first four weeks of relying totally on mother’s milk, kittens should be slowly transitioned to kitten food as sudden dietary change can lead to digestive upsets. Do this by gradually mixing the food with a kitten milk formula – ideally over at least a week where you increase the ratio of new food to old food in each meal. This helps avoid any digestive stress or diarrhoea. If you are uncertain, follow the feeding guidelines on your kitten food packaging or ask your vet or breeder.
Cats prefer to eat small portions, averaging 16-20 small meals throughout the day. To help enable this behaviour, allow your kitten access to food all day where possible. Kittens have an intense spurt during this period when they will do most of their growing. It is also a time where kittens are prone to digestive upsets as they lose their capacity to digest lactose and are weaned. Avoid feeding your kitten cow’s milk – their inability to digest it can make them quite sick.
Four to twelve months
As your kitten approaches adult size its need for added energy reduces. This is also the time when their digestive system begins to mature enough to cope with solid food.
Kittens should still be gaining weight during this stage, however, you should keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t gain more weight than they should. Overweight kittens don’t mature well physically as the strain of carrying extra weight can put stress on internal organs as well as joints and limbs. If you decide to always leave food out for your cat, it is a good idea to monitor their weight to make sure they are not overeating.
Your kitten should also always have easy access to fresh water. Ideally, there will be several bowls for them around the house.
Speak to your vet about appropriate diets and quantities to feed your new kitten.